Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson (3 stars)

I initially skipped over The Mark of the Dragonfly because, though the synopsis sounded okay, the cover just wasn't pulling me in; and I've learned to trust my gut cover/synopsis-sense. (It's like Spidey-sense except, instead of physical harm, it protects me from books I'm not likely to enjoy. It's especially fine-tuned and accurate in YA.) Thankfully, Anya did a wonderful review that got me to look past the cover.

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
Series: n/a
Genres: MG, Fantasy
Published on March 25, 2014
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Final Rating: 3 stars
Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

The Mark of the Dragonfly is a dangerous adventure in a strange, magical world with fun characters and great friendships. The plot kept me engaged and the interactions between several kinds of crazy (and stubborn) people keeps the story moving even when they're not in mortal peril.

I guessed the big twist ahead of time, but it did not lessen my enjoyment of the story. I like the characters. Piper is a strong protagonist with a mechanical bent, and I can even see middle grade boys liking her (if you can get them to pick up a book with a leading girl). I like the world, too, despite really wanting to know more about how this magic and wormholes(?) and stuff all ties together. I'm mostly content with the mystery of it, but I would love detailed answers complete with charts and diagrams. ;)

And I loved the train! I actually had a short story back in college about a girl (with mechanical tendencies) on a long train journey, so I loved the idea and really enjoyed the author's execution of it.

I like the cover more now that I've read the book and get all the subtle details in the picture, but I still wish they had done something different- something that grabbed me and said, "Pick me up!" Maybe they'll try mixing it up if they do a paperback edition.

I would definitely hand The Mark of the Dragonfly to a middle grade reader (or an adult, for that matter) and, while it looks to be a standalone, it has plenty of material for an adventure trilogy or series.


  1. 1. Love the new design :D 2. YEYEYEYEY! One of these days I'm going to get a 4 star rating out of you, but I'm glad you enjoyed this one anyway ;-)

    1. 1. Thank you! I see a few more small changes in the future, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. 2. I have no doubt you will. No idea how since I'm not entirely sure how I get 4-stars myself, but no doubt. ;)

  2. Yes, I can see how the cover wouldn't grab you, it does look a little dated.

    Sounds interesting. Wormholes?!

    1. I wonder if this cover worked better for the target audience, middle graders, or maybe it's supposed to be gender neutral? But yes, the book was fun. (And I'm guessing wormholes of some sort; essentially, Earth-like stuff falls from the sky in greenish storms.)

  3. Cover=boring! Your review + synopsis=interesting!! I'm looking for this one!

    1. Thank you! Yes, that was pretty much my thought process when I read Anya's review. I hoep you like it!